Carl Holty, ‘Vertical Red and Gray’, 1963, Taylor | Graham

Estate of Carl Holty

About Carl Holty

Considered one of the earliest American abstractionists, Carl Holty is known for his painting style that combines European modernism and abstract expressionism. Holty began cultivating an artistic career at the age of 16, but his breakthrough occurred nearly a decade later when he took the advice of his friend Vaclav Vytlacil and studied with the painter Hans Hofmann. He wrote of the experience: “No one had ever talked to me about conceptual drawing . . . Hofmann did. And the world opened up just like that.” Holty’s early paintings were strongly influenced by synthetic cubism and the works of Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso. Though his later style was more purely abstract, the artist’s subjects were always related to the natural world. Beginning in the 1930s, Holty used tape to create his hallmark crisp, clean-edged painted forms.

American, 1900-1973